Council takes the fifth; citizens need a fifth.

Same song, fifth verse. If you thought it was bad, it’s gonna get worse. 

By now, everyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows our illustrious city council has again said “no” to a budget. Yep. Three of these five seat sitters stared straight into the gun barrel of state law and dared anyone to pull the trigger. Deadline? We don’t need no stinkin’ deadline. For the fifth time.

As all of you know, that means the city will now function on half its 2020 fiscal year budget. It also means fiscal minds must come up with ways to operate the city on half the money when bank accounts are, according to the financial director, half a million dollars overdrawn. And that deficit, students, is after operating at full budget.

Funny thing about the budget vote Monday. The entire episode took about 30 seconds, give or take 15. Motion made to adopt, second, vote no, move on to next item. No discussion, no explanation. Just stone faces behind masks. And, masks on the council seem appropriate. Bandido de seguridad.

From the porch, we see no resolution coming before Gabriel toots the trumpet. Although several citizens who spoke at the meeting implored our fivesome to come together and compromise, that ain’t gonna happen so long as the ignorance of arrogance, which breeds incompetence, permeates the chamber.

Back to the budget for a moment. Please consider that our leaders said no to the proposed budget while knowing full well that Minden had already passed the deadline for adoption. That happened Sept. 30. Shortly after the vote, the finance director said the action would bring the city to its knees. Council response? Crickets.

Remember the story of a man asking a voter if ignorance or apathy was the biggest problem in politics. The voter answered, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” That answer might have come from this city council.

Another question for the folks tasked with running the town on half dollars. From which overdrawn account will you write the check for the boocoodle dollars increase in the fuel adjustment costs our energy supplier will begin charging? Bet that increase pretty much eats up every emergency need from our half-only budget.

Curious: Since a majority of the council seems unconcerned about telling the constituency to face cuts in services, are they willing to be the ones to deliver pink slips to city employees when the cutback hits personnel? And are they willing to dip into their council paychecks to help needy residents pay more for half service?

From our porch, Rocker saw two council meetings Monday. A session that started at 5:30 and ran until around 8 was about 45 minutes council tap dance and verbal tongue lashings for the remainder. Comments from the public were very interesting.

One speaker used the work “reckless” to describe the form of city governance now being practiced. Reckless is a kind reference. Rocker thinks “feckless” would be more appropriate.

Speaker also likened the ongoing squabble between Hizzoner the mayor and his council sparring partner as a “domestic dispute.” Sickeningly accurate. When speaker suggested the two kiss and make up, sparring partner quickly replied, “That ain’t gonna happen.”

True statement. Ain’t nothing gonna happen of a positive nature in Minden until much changes. As several of the commenters at Monday’s meeting pointed out, until there’s a consensus to put the city ahead of egos and personal animosities, only the citizens will suffer. For want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; for want of a rider, the war was lost.

Elected officials in Minden must face the people in 2022 if they hope to remain in office. What can this group, or any individual, claim to have accomplished to move Minden forward. Making first-graders look like mature, intelligent adults can’t be counted, nor can providing comedians more material than they can ever use.

Remember: the quality of government should not be measured merely by what the people can, and will, tolerate. If so, government at every level might be measured by Minden.

Final thought from the porch. Rocker will end this conversation with a word of the day. Today’s word for Hizzoner the transparent mayor and the council of this fair city: Subpoena.

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